Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening... Read allPete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.
The movie follows the story of Pete (Paul Rudd, essentially playing Apatow) and Debbie (Mann), and their two kids, Charlotte and Sadie (Maude and Iris Apatow) who we met as supporting characters in Knocked Up, and whose marriage is flagging after 14 years. The story doesn't get any more complicated than that, really. Watching as this well-to-do family of four battles through a plethora of first world problems- they might have to move from their big house to a slightly smaller big house, children spending too much time on the ipad, etc- for two and a half hours sounds like it would be agonising and boring, and yet it isn't. The fact is that this film is so observant of the upper-middle class to which it's characters belong, so honest about the little, everyday struggles that they encounter, that it feels like it's real, and real is funny. Even with hilarious supporting characters played by Megan Fox, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segel, Chris O'Dowd, Lena Dunham and Albert Brooks, the real stars here are the family of Apatows, who nail the nuances of inter-family relationships, with Maude Apatow putting in a particularly brilliant performance as over-dramatic older sister Sadie.
This Is 40 has been unfairly criticised for over-dramatising the problems of a rich LA family, saying that the parents come across as mean and the kids as spoilt- but that analysis is shallow. This film goes deeper than that, the characters aren't upset because they're losing money, they're upset because their relationship is falling apart, that they have secrets in their marriage, that they can't be honest with each other. People seem repulsed by the fact that a comedy about the rich is trying to earn the audience's sympathy- but why not? Can a comedy only be emotional if it's about the poor? I was sure that films like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Lost In Translation had already proved that this wasn't the case. But just in case there was any doubt, This is 40 is here to do it again.
- Jan 6, 2013